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Condoleezza Rice on Homeland Security

Secretary of State


Pushed for globality of Global War on Terror

In the days after the 9/11 attack, Bush channeled his policy, and our national anger and resolve, to the task of combating terrorism and the nations that sponsor it all over the world--rejecting the narrower mission of just rounding up and punishing the particular al Qaeda operatives who planned 9/11. According to Newsweek, Rice helped the president respond this way to the terror attacks: "Rice instantly saw that the War on Terror was global." Colin Powell said, "the initial knee-jerk reaction after 9/11 was to go after al Qaeda." But Rice encouraged the president to focus on state sponsorship of terrorism as well. When Bush used the phrase "Axis of Evil" in his State of the Union address, it was an echo of what Rice had been telling him since the week of 9/11.
Source: Condi vs. Hillary, by Dick Morris, p.126 Oct 11, 2005

To win global war on terror we must win the war of ideas

In 2002, Rice began to speak of "a balance of power that favors freedom," an interesting merger of the language of the geopolitical strategy and the objectives of a morally based foreign policy. In a June 2003 speech, Rice laid out the case for a freedom focus most elegantly: "To win the War on Terror, we must also win a war of ideas by appealing to the decent hopes of people throughout the world...giving them cause to hope for a better life and brighter future... and reason to reject the false and destructive comforts of bitterness, grievance and hate." Terror, she said, "thrives in the airless space where new ideas, new hopes, and new aspirations are forbidden. Terror lives when freedom dies. True peace will come only when the world is safer, better, and freer."
Source: Condi vs. Hillary, by Dick Morris, p.127 Oct 11, 2005

US was not on a war footing against al Qaeda until Sept. 11

Q: When you look back at the period of time between the inauguration and Sept. 11th, is there anything you wish that you had done differently?

A: We got a list of policy initiatives from the Clinton administration; we acted on those policy initiatives We felt that we were not in a position to have a comprehensive strategy that would not just roll back al Qaeda--which had been the policy of the Clinton administration--but we needed a strategy to eliminate al Qaeda. And we put that work into motion. And, in fact, that produced a comprehensive strategy several weeks before 9/11. The fact is that the country was not on war footing about al Qaeda and terrorism until after September 11th.

Q: But do you think that you or the administration made any mistakes, any misjudgments between the inauguration and 9/11?

A: We were discussing the threat spike that took place between June and July, to try and figure out how to respond. But everything pointed to an attack abroad.

Source: Interview on "60 Minutes" with Ed Bradley Mar 28, 2004

Umbrella of intelligence since Sept. 11 has made us safer

Q: You say we're safer than before Sept. 11 -- don't you expect another attack on this country?

A: We are still safer today because we have an umbrella of intelligence and law enforcement worldwide. So we are safer, but not yet safe. And we're going t have to continue to pursue this war aggressively. The one thing that we have to be very careful about as a country is to not lose sight of one of the things that hurt us most, was not knowing and not having light on what was going on inside the country with al Qaeda. There's been a lot written about the fact that the CIA and the FBI were not sharing information. Well, in large part, they were by tradition and culture and legally not able to share and collect intelligence information in the way that might have helped to keep us safe. The Patriot Act, which the President has now gotten through Congress, is doing precisely that. So we've a lot more tools now than we had before. But no one should think that this war on terrorism is by any means over.

Source: Interview on "60 Minutes" with Ed Bradley Mar 28, 2004

Clarke: Rice never heard of Al Qaeda before 2000

As I briefed Rice on Al Qaeda, her facial expression gave me the impression that she had never heard of the term before, so I added, "Most people think of it as Osama bin Laden's group, but it's much more than that. It's a network of affiliated terrorist organizations with cells in over 50 countries, including the U.S."

Rice looked skeptical. She focused on the fact that my office staff was large by NSC standards (12 people) and did operational things, including domestic security issues. She said, "The NSC looks just as it did when I worked here a few years ago, except for your operation. It's all new. It does domestic things, and it is not just doing policy. I'm not sure we want to keep all of this in the NSC."

Source: Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, chapter 1 Mar 23, 2004

Follow Geneva Convention; but no anti-death penalty promise

Q: A big issue that's come up at the moment in Britain is relations between U.S. and U.K. over the British citizens held in Guantanamo Bay. The British government wants reassurances that they will not be facing the death penalty. Can you tell us anything about negotiations?

A: This is being worked out between the U.S. government and the British government. Britain is a friend, and so we're going to be open and transparent with Britain about what's going on here. I think we have to remember, these people were picked up for terrorism and so that has to be kept in mind. But both the treatment of them, which is in accordance with the standards of the Geneva Convention, and also the very careful process that the military commission sets up to try to deal with, and balance the concerns of national security with due process, those are being discussed with the British government and I'm sure will be fine.

Source: Press Gaggle with Ari Fleischer aboard Air Force One Jul 11, 2003

Europe should take over some of US' peacekeeping role

I am very worried that the United States cannot continue to do the amount of peace keeping that it is doing around the world. Its going to need regional powers to do a lot of that. The Balkans is not going to be solved for a long time. And if you look at the military capabilities right now, Europe does not have the capability to do it. If you look, there are declining defense budgets in every place but Britain. I am more concerned that Europe will do not enough rather than that Europe will do too much.

We cannot afford a 50 year commitment in the Balkans. We cannot afford a 20 year commitment in the Balkans. And so finding ways to deal with those issues [is an important area of discussion with Europe and NATO]. And it is not just West Europe, by the way, I mean the Australians stepped up to the plate in East Timor. But we had to give them a lot of help.

Source: TIES-Webzine interview at Hoover Institution, Stanford Univ. Jun 25, 2000

Other candidates on Homeland Security: Condoleezza Rice on other issues:
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Page last updated: Jul 15, 2008